The last two things they’ll pry from my cold, dead hands before shoving me into the crematorium and flicking their Bic will be my coffee cup and my Oakley Thump Pro Mp3 sunglasses. The Oakleys have been my workhouse music player on runs and rides for the better part of the last decade, and if they expire before I do this kid will be sorely disappointed. As Oakley no longer makes them, my first stop then will be Ebay.
Music players are as common as cell phones. More so. Littering various junk drawers are the cast-offs of yesteryear’s technology — Sansas and ancient Shuffles and maybe even a Zune somewhere. Between these tiny little juke boxes and an iPhone that channels Spotify, Pandora, and my own music collection, I have access to almost every piece of recorded music in the last 40 years. And yet, when I want to groove while I move, the choice is almost always the Oakleys.
The biggest reason is pure portability. Yes, you’re committing yourself to a heavier, bulkier, task-specific sunglass, but the ease of carrying the music and sticking it in your ear is unsurpassed. No ear buds or clip-on sports headphone can be as comfortable in your cans as the small articulating arms of the Thumps. There are no wires to tangle, no device to clip. There’s just the sunglasses, always on your face, ready to rock.
If you’re riding down the road and need to listen to traffic, or running with a partner and don’t want to tune out entirely, you can flip up one of the arms and hear perfectly in one ear while getting a little dirty house in the other. And, for you family types, I can tell you that it’s amazing on long road trips when the groms are squabbling in the back seat and the shotgun wants to discuss drapery patterns. Keep the right arm up and the left arm down and no one knows you’re on The Dark Side of the Moon.
The Thumps hold about a gig’s worth of files. They’re heavier than a typical sports sunglass, as you’d guess. And unless you’re still into Transformers, you’ll probably find them stylish as a 1986 Dodge Ares. But you transfer songs (and charge) via USB, and the battery can last a month of daily runs. It’s easy as Sunday morning. There’s no fussing or streaming or tangling…just you and “Wagon Wheel,” rocking along like a southbound train.
Oakley Thumps can be found on Ebay, ranging from $5 to $350. Take a look here.